The Hotel Review: Faulty Towers

THE HOTEL: Sunday 17th April, C4, 8pm

As you would expect with a title like The Hotel, this programme is half fly-on-the-wall documentary half reality TV show about life at a hotel. But not just any hotel, because this place is populated with eccentric staff who seem to have trouble communicating with each other at the best of times, which leads to some rather funny (if awkward) situations.

First off, this is no posh hotel. It’s made to cater for ‘Mondeo man’ – the rather patronising way in which owner Jonathan chooses to refer to his target market. And at most hotels, the manager doesn’t live in a caravan in the garden, but that is where Wayne, the manager of this place, calls home. And Wayne does nothing to dismiss the idea that the hotel is a rather strange place, talking about a family that came to stay who said they could see dead people: “They asked me if I wanted them to show me how I could speak to and see dead peopleâ€?, he says. “Why would I want to do that? I’m a hotel manager; I have enough problems with the living!â€? A remarkably light attitude to have when your hotel’s going all Shyamalan.

It’s fair to say that you need a sense of humour to work here – or stay – as one guest finds out when she tries to order rye bread for breakfast and has to explain to Amos, the Romanian assistant – that it’s “rye bread, not right breadâ€?. You just can’t make this stuff up, because about 10 minutes and a lot of mumbling “what is this rye bread?â€? later, Amos comes back to tell them that they don’t actually have any, even though they said they’d order some in. There’s so much laughing at foreign staff that it’s a little like Fawlty Towers would have been if it dealt in light-hearted xenophobia…oh, hang on.

It’s not all fun, though, because when Amos confesses that he came to Britain for a new start and a chance at a better life, you realise that he’s trying his best and feel rather mean for laughing at him. You horrible bastards. He’s just trying to make a living and you’re laughing at him. We hope you all feel ashamed.

The rest carries on in pretty much the same way, proving that reality TV can survive by having amusing, likable people in their shows, not a bunch of bizarre degenerates. It’s a very watchable show that may actually brighten up your evening.